Wet wall

Wet wall

I like to think I’m a planner. I spend at least as much time figuring out how I’m going to do something before I attempt to do it, occasionally far more. Sometimes this planning pays off and sometimes I realize that I failed to consider an important factor. The wet wall was one of the latter. It’s comprised of two full 2×4 walls with a narrow space between them, except for the end, where the refrigerator will sit further back than the rest of the kitchen wall, allowing the front to be at counter depth without being an expensive counter depth fridge.

I researched refrigerator dimensions and decided that the kitchen wall should be six inches forward of the wall behind the refrigerator. I spent time researching how to support the wall when it doesn’t sit over a joist, decided to double up the bottom plate so that when we install the radiant floor and hardwood floors we’ll still have a large enough nailing edge for drywall. I measured and installed the wall bracing on the kitchen side exactly where the wall cabinets will hang so we have a continuous nailing surface and don’t have to hunt for studs. I used screws to put the blocking in the ceiling rather than nails because I know that when we redo the second floor we’ll have to replace that floor joist. All of this constituted good planning, but I neglected to consider the other reason the wet wall has a narrow space: it’s a wet wall.

The wet wall contains all of the plumbing that support the second floor. The toilets for the second floor bathrooms will use 4″ PVC drain pipe which will travel through the wet wall at an angle. The gap between the two walls was only 2½”. The only way to install that would be to notch out the studs, top plate, and bottom plate. I decided instead to expand the wet wall I’d just framed.

The good news is this wasn’t terribly difficult. I cut the nails holding the top plate with a reciprocating saw and tipped the whole stud wall until it rested against the chimney. Then I was able to cut all of the nails holding it to the floor, tap it a measly 2½”, and tip it back into place. A lot of time with a measuring tape and a level got the wall aligned properly. I picked up some 6″ screws to go through the double top and bottom plates into the joists and with Sarah’s help, got them all in.

Expanded wall

Expanded wall

Like every project, there are a couple of punchlist items. I have to put some studs into the outside wall for drywall nailing edges, which means I need to put in spray foam since the studs will close up a couple of spots. I’ll also try to remember to think things through a tiny bit more in the future. At least we caught this right away, and not when we’re actually trying to install the drain plumbing.

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